Thursday, September 28, 2023
September 28, 2023

Loose BC Ferries vessel causes Route 4 delay

A bit of Sunday night excitement sent a BC Ferries crew at Fulford Harbour scrambling to secure lines for a retired vessel that came loose from its moorings.

The 7:50 p.m. sailing of the Skeena Queen from Fulford to Swartz Bay was delayed nearly an hour, according to BC Ferries, as that ship’s crew raced to secure the nearby Powell River Queen.

“The stern tie-up line on the Powell River Queen parted last night,” said BC Ferries public affairs executive director Deborah Marshall. “The crew on the Skeena Queen launched the rescue boat, and re-secured two stern lines.”

The bow line remained secure at all times, according to Marshall, who added there was thankfully no damage to the ferry or any other vessels in the area. The root cause of the incident, she said, was a worn line on the ship.

The Powell River Queen retired after 58 years of service Jan. 17, the last 32 of which were spent serving Quadra Island. Built in 1965, the 84-metre, 61-vehicle ferry was the oldest vessel in BC Ferries’ fleet, and was replaced by two new Island Class diesel-electric hybrid ships, the Island Nagalis and Island K’ulut’a — which will operate as fully electric vessels when charging infrastructure is complete.

Auction site IronPlanet showed the ferry for sale shortly after it was retired, with a high bid of $126,000; no purchase was disclosed, and BC Ferries officials said Monday it was still currently for sale.

The Powell River Queen has been at Fulford Harbour’s extra berth since March 10.


  1. Editor’s note: The following comment was submitted to the Driftwood on the basis that the writer’s identity not be published. While we would not publish an anonymous piece in our newspaper, online commenters’ identities are not necessarily clear, so it seems appropriate to share this humorous response to the above story.

    The real story.
    The Powell River Queen has had a hard time with retirement, having been tossed aside like an old shoe. She was built in B.C., hardly missed a sailing from Campbell River to Quadra and then realized she would be replaced by a pair of skanky electric boats built in far-off Romania by a Dutch outfit. What is the world coming to!
    In a fit of spite she broke down on her very last trip out of Campbell River – that will show those ungrateful executives at BC Ferries. Then to be put up for sale and parked in the spare dock at Fulford Harbour just vacated by the lowly Quinitsa! How much indignity is she supposed to take?
    But while she sat there she realized there were problems at Fulford — overloads, crew shortages, lineups, etc. She realized that this was her chance to restore her honour; get out of this dock and start running service to Swartz Bay from Fulford. They didn’t have extra crew anyway so she would do it herself on her own. She snapped the first rope and was gearing up for the second when the Skeena, who didn’t want the competition, ratted on her. Now, hogtied and broken-hearted she sits in the spare dock awaiting her probable ignominious end as a barge.
    But wait!! The Queen of Chilliwack, the Queen of Prince Rupert and the Queen of Nanaimo were all retired by BC Ferries and sold during the last decade to a ferry operation in the warm waters of Fiji in the south Pacific. What if . . . the Queen of Powell River can feel the warmth on her hull already.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Other stories you might like

10-sailing schedule extended through September 

The popular and ambitious “peak season” ferry schedule between Fulford Harbour and Swartz Bay has been extended another month, as BC Ferries announced Monday...

Director gives updates on housing and more 

By CRD Director Gary Holman Salt Spring’s Local Community Commission (LCC) is already hard at work, deciding on two meetings per month, inviting presentations from...

Ferry bedlam mars long weekend

After a Canada Day weekend charitably described as “uneven,” BC Ferries passengers who braved holiday travel to and from Salt Spring Island are left...

Fulford-Swartz summer schedule in effect June 28

Starting next week, BC Ferries hopes more sailings in and out of Fulford Harbour will help alleviate growing system strain, as Salt Spring heads...


Salt Spring Island
light rain
9.1 ° C
10.8 °
8 °
99 %
75 %
14 °
12 °
12 °
13 °
12 °